Yoghurt that has probiotic cultures added to it is associated with many health benefits including aiding digestion by helping the gut work properly, banishing bad breath, and helping to control yeast overgrowth.
'Live' yoghurt is made from milk that has been fermented by Lactobacillus bulgaricus, Lactobacillus acidophilus and Streptococcus thermophilus, specific bacteria that result in a thickened, semisolid product.
Yoghurt is a good source of calcium, vitamins and other minerals. Many people who are lactose-intolerant may be able to tolerate yoghurt because of its reduced lactose content. It is also easily digested and contains essential amino acids that the body needs.
Yoghurt is considered a probiotic because it contains bacteria that produce lactic acid. The consumption of these bacteria is beneficial for boosting the immune system, enhancing intestinal tract health, lessening the symptoms of lactose intolerance, and reducing the risk of certain cancers.
Commercially available yoghurt, including organic yoghurt, is all made from pasteurized milk; however the reintroduction of probiotic bacteria into 'live' yoghurt largely undoes some of the damage caused by pasteurization. Unpasteurized, raw milk naturally contains all of the probiotic bacteria present in yoghurt.
Studies on Some of the health Benefits of Yoghurt
- Yeast Overgrowth: Eating yoghurt that contains live cultures of Lactobacillus acidophilus introduces good bacteria into the body and is associated with helping to treat yeast infections.
- Bad Breath: Researchers from Japan have discovered that consuming traditional yogurt (which is sugar free and which contains live bacterial cultures) is associated with reducing bad breath. Levels of plaque and gingivitis (gum disease) were lower in volunteers who ate the traditional yogurt. After six weeks of eating yogurt, levels of bad-smelling hydrogen sulfide compounds in the mouths of volunteers were 80 percent lower.
- Arthritis: A rat study found that arthritic rats fed yoghurt containing Lactobacillus GG bacteria had only mild inflammation.
- Colon Cancer: A study using mice induced with a colorectal carcinoma found that when yoghurt was added to their diet there was an increase in apoptosis (cell death) induction and anticancer activity.
- Gut Health: A study involving 59 humans infected with Helicobacter pylori (H. pylori) who were given yoghurt with Lactobacillus and Bifobacterium twice daily for six weeks, found that the H. pylori was effectively suppressed. Another study involving 160 subjects showed that those receiving antibiotic therapy who supplemented with Lactobacillus- and Bifobacterium-containing yoghurt had less H. pylori infection.
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- Parvez, S., Malik, KA., Ah Kang, S., & Kim, H.Y. (2006, June). Probiotics and their fermented food products are beneficial for health. J Appl Microbiol, 100(6), 1171-1185. Marshall, N. (2002, July). Candid talk about candida. Better nutrition, 64(7), 8-9.
- Bharav, E., Mor, F., Halpern, M., & Weinberger, A. (2004, August). Lactobacillus GG bacteria ameliorate arthritis in Lewis rats. Journal of nutrition, 134(8), 1964-1969.
- Fabian, E., & Elmadfa, I. (2006, July). Influence of Daily Consumption of probiotic and Conventional yoghurt on the Plasma Lipid Profile in Young Healthy Women. Annals of nutrition & metabolism, 50(4), 387-393.
- Perdigon, G., de Moreno de LeBlanc, A., Vasdez, J., & Rachid, M. (2002, August). Role of yoghurt in the prevention of colon cancer. Eur J Clin Nutr, 56(Suppl 3:s65-8).
- Wang, K.Y., Li, S.N., Liu, C.S., Perng, D.S., Su, Y.C., Wu, D.C., Jan, C.M., Lai, C.H., Wang, T.N., & Wang, W.M. (2004, September). Effects of ingesting Lactobacillus- and Bifidobacterium-containing yogurt in subjects with colonized Helicobacter pylori. Am J Clin Nutr, 80(3), 737-734.
- Sheu BS, Wu JJ, Lo CY, et al. Impact of supplement with Lactobacillus- and Bifidobacterium-containing yogurt on triple therapy for Helicobacter pylori eradication. Aliment Pharmacol Ther 2002;16(9):1669- 1676.